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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Review of GSM-handset Sagem my210x

Live photos of Sagem my210x

Sales package:

  • Handset
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • User Guide

In spite of rapid development of mobile phone industry, there is still a good portion of consumers who prefer cheap handsets with minimal functionality to sophisticated and feature-rich phones. For this particular audience manufacturers occasionally roll out budget solutions whose functionality is in one league with 4 years old models, in this case design becomes a big focus. “Candy-bar” is a classic form-factor for low-end solutions - such handsets are among the cheapest offerings in the market. Budget folders are a bit higher on the pricing ladder, and the most expensive of the entry-level are sliders. But vast majority of consumers look at form-factors different from candy-bar with some suspicion deeming them less reliable and short-lived. In our today’s review we are going to look at Sagem my210X which is a typical entry-level fare, with all pros and cons characteristic of devices in the given price-bracket.

The handset’s design comes in with staid lines, as the manufacturer tried to create a model making an appeal to both young people and adults without overhauling the existing cliches. The casing’s edges are marginally smoothened in order to make the handset look less severe; otherwise it could put some prospects off. The manufacturer went for pleasing everybody’s tastes and presented the model in four color schemes: black with silver, blue with silver, black with white and white with silver. None of the solutions on offer looks too gaudy, at the same time we can not call any of them lackluster or prosy. The entire casing is made of good plastic, the build quality is fine. Frankly speaking, for all my life I’ve seen only a pair of budget models whose build quality left much to be desired, in the majority of cases they were put together well and clad in quality plastic. This approach applied by the manufacturer is easily read, for when it comes to budget products consumers pay much attention to the casing quality as many of them are going to use the handset at least for a year.

The handset’s dimensions are petite (106x47x18 mm), the same goes for its weight that makes up 69 g. The my210x is palm-friendly, the only niggle is the plastic on the sides which is a bit slick, so you are always worried about the phone slipping out of your hands. Due to its tiny dimensions you’ll encounter no difficulties with carrying the my210x in trousers or shirt pocket.

The right- and left-hand sides are bare, so is the upper edge. The lower end in its turn houses the hole for a carrying strap, the headset jack (2.5 mm) and the MiniUSB slot. It is really great to know that the manufacturer has provided a budget solution with standard MiniUSB slot, so that the handset is capable of charging from desktop and the user no longer needs to bother about not having a charger at hand, if the battery charge suddenly runs low. The only quibble of ours - the maker didn’t include the cable in the sales package, but that’s not a big deal, as most of you probably have it, if not, you can easily buy it in any computer shop.

The fascia sports a small cSTN-display with 128x128 pixels (26x28 mm) resolution and 65 K colors. Of course, the display has no merits to shout about, in the sun it gets completely washed out. Generally speaking, for budget solutions such display is par for the course.

The keypad is made of rubber except the navigation key with OK button in middle. The navigation block includes two soft-keys, call receive/reject buttons and the four-way navigation key. All buttons are medium-sized and separated from each other, albeit only by a thread, which makes it a breeze to work with them and prevents you from punching wrong keys. The numeric keys are of medium size and spaced out well, so while you’re dialing a number/typing a message they deliver no problems.

The keypad is evenly lit in blue.

The rear comprises the battery cover, whose mounting differs from that normally used in Sagem-branded handsets. The cover doesn’t get “ripped off” like in the previous handsets, it just slides down instead. Such way of opening has a drawback as well - there is tiny gap, but thanks to that the user can easily take the cover away without any risk to damage the clasp.

The my210x utilizes a Li-Ion battery the capacity of which, unfortunately, remains unknown. As the manufacturer claims, it is able to keep the handset alive for up to 3 hours in talk mode and 255 hours in standby. In conditions of Moscow networks Sagem my210x lasted for about 4 days at 15-20 minutes of calls per day and up to 20 minutes of other functions use. For a budget solution this result is good enough, I think in the hands of those who don’t hang on the phone more than 10 minutes a day, the handset will stay up and running for 5-6 days. It takes the my210x about 2.5 hours to charge from empty to full.

Menu

The main menu is displayed in horizontal rows of icons which are placed in the upper part of the screen, upon highlighting any menu item, a big animated picture with the name of the selected section pops up in the centre. Submenu is presented in the form of vertically-arranged lists. Shortcut number navigation through the handset’s menu is also available. The menu has no outstanding detail level or something and looks somewhat lackluster. The developers haven’t done very well with service icons design, the icon showing battery charge, for example, is nearly illegible, the signal strength scale is drawn a bit better but is still far away from perfect.

What I disliked about the menu were the fonts, they are not bulky in size and the good thing was that that they were at least bold; however even for people with good eyes it was difficult to read them, not to mention those with weak eyes. Localization is performed well enough, though there are some defects typical for Sagem-branded handsets which migrate from one device to another.

To right and left functional key you may assign shortcuts to a selected menu item. Specifically, you see a whole list of items available for paging through, the menu item you select in settings just comes first.

The handset provides the user with 240 Kb of free memory available for loading own content.

Phonebook. It is typical for most budget handsets. The phone can have up to 100 entries in its memory, to each contact you may assign name and only one phone number Also a contact can be bounded up with one of the 15 groups. For any group you may put in name, set a small icon and a ring tone and alert type.

Search in the phone book is performed letter-by-letter; contacts from both phone and SIM-card memory are displayed in the general list.

Messaging. The device supports EMS standard, in the handset memory you may find a set of preinstalled small pictures, tunes and animations. The handset is capable of working with concatenated messages, while typing in text, the number of messages and the number of symbols left is displayed at the top of the screen. Up to 100 text messages can be stored in the phone memory. While managing a message you might want to take advantage of zoom feature, that makes text more legible, as with default font it is too skinny and tiny.

The maker hasn’t equipped the device with bulk mailing feature. Before sending the display shows you the message’s full text as well as the number which the message is about to be sent to. This function is rather handy, as it prevents you from making mistakes either with text or with number.

Call lists. The handset provides you only with one call list which can store up to 20 entries, for each number you will see its type (incoming, outgoing, missed) and call duration. Data on the same numbers are not merged.

In this menu you are also free to customize settings that have something to do with calls (call diverting, call waiting, etc.)

Sounds. Here you can set up ring tone and alert type. For alert you may choose the following modes: ring tone only, vibration, vibration and than ring tone as well vibration and ring tone simultaneously.

Background. In this menu item you may select menu background color main screen wallpaper or screensaver.

Settings. Via this menu you can adjust date and time, choose menu language, set up display contrast, call answer type, as well modify the service indicator for a certain tasks and alter some other settings.

Security. Everything connected with handset security is gathered here.

Accessories. Calendar. A basic calendar which can be viewed in monthly mode only and lacks the ability to create a new event.

Alarm clock. Opening the alarm clock section you will find the only alarm in there with time being the only customizable option.

The calculator, timer and unit converter are placed here as well.

Games. The handset comes preinstalled with two games - Picture puzzle and ArcadeBox.

Impressions

The reception quality put up by the handset is average, in places with weak signal you can reach someone only on second-third attempt, at that the reception quality in this case, frankly speaking, proves to be awful. In places with normal signal strength, however, the handset delivers no problems. Speaker’s volume as well as microphone sensitivity is sufficient in almost any conditions. The my210x has 16-tone polyphony, the handset’s memory already stores a good set of original tunes (standard for Sagem-branded handsets) which sound quite adequate. Of course, the handset has nothing to do with “Hi-FI Polychonic” feature as its box implies. The call alert volume is sufficient, the silent alert is rather strong for such device.

When looking at the handset you might ponder over why it is better than other budget models?! Basically, there is nothing out of the ordinary about it: candy-bar form factor, straightforward casing design, lackluster set of functions standard for its class. But, of course, it can boast such advantages as four casing color schemes, MiniUSB-slot which allows the device to charge via PC. Also we can’t overlook tidy polyphony, but these days it’s becoming par for the course for budget handsets. So the my210z has a good chance to blend with the pack of other entry-level offerings.

Back when I was writing this review the handset’s average price in Moscow made up about 70 USD, so by and large the price is in line with similar models proposed by other manufacturers.

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